The Hidden Seed of Camphill
The Hidden Seed - The story of the Camphill Bible Evening
Jan Martin Bang 2009
If a community is a living organism, one that shares certain
characteristics with plants, animals and human beings, then
it must contain some "hidden seed" that is its soul, its spiritual
entity, its identity. Within the Camphill communities the
Bible Evening is this unifying identity.
My fascination for the Bible Evening led me to wonder where
it came from, and chance readings about the life of Count
Ludwig von Zinzendorf, the founder of the Moravian Church,
caught my interest. He had lived and worked in what had been
Eastern Germany, very close to the border of the Czech Republic.
Many of the earliest communities of the Herrnhuters, inspired
by him, had been founded in Silesia and surrounding areas
of southern Poland.
I felt the need to visit the places where Zinzendorf had lived,
to find out more about those strange people who emerged out
of hiding in the deep forests of Moravia and Bohemia to settle
in the village of Herrnhut that he founded.
In the autumn of 2007 my wife Ruth and I received a sabbatical
year's leave from our Camphill community, and found ourselves
able to travel down through Eastern Europe by car, with time
to visit communities and see whatever sights we wanted to.
Here at last was the opportunity to find out more about Zinzendorf
and the communities he had founded, and those that had inspired
him. Here was an opportunity to locate where König had begun
his working life and to see where he had been inspired.
From its beginnings as a dream experienced by Karl König,
through the difficult first years, when it was hardly accepted
by other co-workers, today the Bible Evening has spread throughout
the world. It has become a defining feature of Camphill. It
is somewhere that participants can learn deeper listening
to others. It has become a place where we can celebrate ongoing
Today there is a need for community, a thirst for getting
together with other people and creating stable groups where
members understand, support and inspire each other. Today
there is a pressing need to get to know our differences, tolerate
them, and learn to listen and live in peace. The Bible Evening
is a social tool which can help us to do this. It will also
help to create our own culture, our own way of doing things.
If we can look after and develop the Bible Evening, it will
also help us to create our own sense of community. The Bible
Evening is a valuable social tool, something that has taken
hundreds of years to evolve.
From a hidden seed, it has emerged as one of the canopy trees
of our forest.
Comments about "The Hidden Seed":
This is a very interesting work. What a lovely 'spiritual
Maria Mountain, editor of Camphill Correspondence.
I was thrilled to see that at last somebody had catered for
the young co-workers.
Melville Segal, author and publisher.
Your book needs to be made available to all co-workers in
Camphill so as to strengthen the understanding for this special
form of "schooling the heart".
Julian Sleigh, Camphill South Africa and author.
I am sure many people will be interested in reading this.
What an adventure!
Julia Wolfson, "Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Each
Other", seminar leader.
Copies of the book are available from:
I thought you would be interested in the attached Newsletter
from the Vault - from the Moravian Archives In Bethlehem,
Robin Jackson was born in Hampshire and studied at the
universities of Bristol and Exeter. He was Principal Lecturer
in Special Education at King Alfred's College, Winchester
and Principal of Linn Moor Special School in Aberdeen. He
has worked with Camphill for many years, including as a Development
and Training Co-ordinator, and is currently a consultant to
the Camphill School, Aberdeen.
Anthroposophical Society Anthroposophy Worldwide 5/09